The Unseen Opponent: A proposal for an enchanted device

I'm open to suggestions on other ways to achieve this magic chessboard device that my Verditius character (Vulcanis Argens) is looking to make and sell but here's the best (and cheapest) I've come up with so far. I'm in real need of bringing the cost down.

The actual enchantment doesn't seem too expensive, it's only when you factor in the mandated Verditius selling price that things get out of control.

The Unseen Opponent

The device consists of two chessboards, the squares inlaid with
alternating gold and silver. When the pieces on one board are moved, the same pieces on the married board are also moved in the same way.

With one board retained by the owner, and the other gifted to a friend, this allows each player to participate in the game despite being many leagues distant from his opponent.

Each board will be iron with the playing area inlaid with gold and silver.
Each board will be inset into a table (designed to suit the purchaser).
Each board will come complete with a set of playing pieces in gold and silver.

The effect is achieved through two chessboards linked through an Arcane Connection.

Each board has a variant on "The Unseen Arm", with unlimited uses and a linked-effect trigger.

The linked-effect trigger is an InTe Arc Sun Ind spell that listens for movement above and around the married board. When movement is detected, the Unseen Arm (ReTe(In)) effect is triggered. This trigger needs to be instilled as a constant effect.

The Unseen Arm variant is a ReT(In) Touch Conc Ind spell. The device maintains concentration. The Intellego requisite allows the spell to track the piece's movement as it is moved.

Each board must "listen" to the other for movements. This is the linked trigger. Once this spell detects movement, it replicates that movement through its Unseen Arm effect.

To achieve a constant effect:
Raise duration to Sun (adding two magnitudes)
Add one level for two uses per day
Add three levels for an environmental trigger (sunrise/sunset)

Base level 4 (perceive the object's surroundings) Per Mom Ind (4)

  • 4 Magnitudes to Arcane Connection Arc Mom Ind (20)
  • 2 Magnitudes to Sun Arc Sun Ind (30)
  • 4 Levels for the constant duration (34)

The Unseen Opponent:
Base 2 (move an object in an unnatural way) Per Mom Ind (2)

  • 1 Magnitudes to Touch Touch Mom Ind (3)
  • 2 Magnitudes to Conc Touch Conc Ind (5)
  • 1 Magnitude for complex actions (10)
  • 3 levels for being triggered by an effect (13)
    +10 For unlimited uses (23)
  • 5 For device to maintain concentration (28)

Cost to Build:
Base Metal x Large = 5 x 3 = 15 Pawns to Open (reduced to 9 through
Argens's Craft skill)
4 Pawns for the linked-trigger
3 Pawns for the Unseen Opponent
Total = 16 Pawns
10 Pounds of Silver

Cost to Buy:
Cost to Build (16) x 3 = 48 Pawns (House Verditius mandates that cost
of the item)
Mundane cost x 2 = 20 Pounds of Silver

That is just for one table. For it to work, two are required.

Venditore's "commission":
4 Pawns of Vis (Bargaining space)
4 Pounds of Silver

That comes out at 100 Pawns of Vis and 48 Pounds of Silver

The maths on the cost may be a little out as I've been adjusting as I've gone.

So, any hints or suggestions?

Ingeniously sneaky, shame most mages in thier right minds are never gonna let you sell them a set of these.

First off as a maker, what's to prevent you from holding even the smallest fragment of an Arcane connection to both tables? Thus allowing you to port yourself in right next to or on said table at utter random? It;s not like you couldn;t scry either table and see if anyone was around. Same goes for the owner of the "other tabe" from the other person point of veiw. Same weakness.

One strong mage with the will and some effort could port in a small invasion force in a matter of a small time, and wipe out an unsuspecting covenant.

It's amazing how quickly something so mall, enjoyable, and innocuous suddenly take on such a sinister aspect. Unfortunately, that is precisely how Magi tend to think most of the time.

Between two VERY friendly mages? Yeah I buy this, if one of them makes it; but from seperate covenants? Hope his Covenant buddies don't get wind of it, and put half a thougth into it.

Though also at first glance, without reaching for a book. I don't see a mechanical issue.

Be funny if the Person making the table "Tweaked it a bit", and gave it to a [pair of lords who were at war, friends, allies, Whatever. One day they both sit down at the table to make a move, and the thing strangles them both. Leaves the obvious trace of death, but absolutely no clues as to "how".

Even an direct investigation is not likely to reveal more from a Magi investigator than the prescence of a magical table designed to move pieces when the linked table moves them. And if they take it back to the lab, you can always use the Arc Connection to destroy them right in front of the investigator's face.

I see what you're getting at but if my Verditius doesn't get commissioned to make these, then there's no expenditure of Vis. He hasn't lost anything.

I think the key is that they are designed to assist friends to play a game they enjoy. I do agree that if a magus turned up at another covenant and just handed one over it would probably be consigned to the deepest, darkest part of the tower's strongroom.

Of course, these items as designed have 0 penetration so any moved object will be resisted; no "Deadly Assault of the Unexpected Bishop" effect here.

However... One little sales point which I did forget to mention is (supporting the more covert amongst us) is the quill and parchment angle. The effect will move whatever metal objects are on the board. Should the magi choose, they could happen to leave a stylus, some ink and a sheet of parchment on the board. There is then a built in process of sending messages between the boards.

Of course, this is not its primary purpose and would not be ideal but it is a legitimate side effect.

I don't see the need for the second effect -the unseen opponant to be more than momentary. I also don't see why it needs to have an extra magnitude for complex actions. When the board senses one of the pieces on the companion board has been mocved to a different position then it moves its own piece to match. This makes it a level 17 effect and saves you a pawn of vis.

Also I believe that the level 2 intellego terram guideline "learn one property of an object" could be (arguably) used to divine the property of "what pieces are on what spaces of the chess board" This saves you two magnitudes lowering the level to 24

You could also save by enchanting only a thin sheet of metal to be placed place atop the rest of the ornate silver board, making the object small (*2) instead of medium(*3)

Nice idea. I've tended to take perhaps the least contentious option and err on the more expensive side; it's a large (surface area) board, so call it "large".

In actual fact, it's designed to be embedded into a rather grand table (not enchanted) so it doesn't matter too much just how much iron is enchanted.

For me, it seems a little too large to be classified as "small" but I'm happy to take the suggestion and run like a thief.

I think it's looking a little more viable now. The list below indicates the pawns of Vis required to build and buy the item(s).

Open for Enchantment 10 (5 * 2)
Argens' Craft Skill -6 (reduces the number of pawns needed)
Linked-Effect Trigger 3
Unseen Opponent 2
Total for one device 9

Two devices required 18

House Tariff 54 (Build cost * 3)
Venditor's Commission 4

Grand Total 58

That's a huge saving.

Just remembered... in order to get through Aegis the InTe effect will need a penetration score built into the effect.

Good to know, but bad for business.

Or both items are included in Aegis Casting (for both Covenants).
(at their respective locations)
The casting token is placed on/near the board when in use ,
and removed when not in use.
(This should counter objections from the overly paranoid).

This board is sounding a bit like a chat program. :wink:

That was the first gag made when the item was first mooted. There was an earlier version that included InIm and CrIm effects...

Does the casting token idea get around the Aegis restriction though?

The rules only mention beasts and magi... but I as a gamemmaster would say items are ok too.

This is a fantastic item. With some reasonable precautions my magus would buy a set.

We have a similar item we use for long distance communication, a pair of slate chalkboards. Typically the one magus without the ability to teleport will take one and fly off to the destination, he messages the other slate board when he gets there and the remaining 2 magi teleport using the linked boards as an arcane connection. Very efficient means of travel.

Also comes in handy for calling for help when out doing chores alone, but by far its most common use is for our resident evil minded sneaky mage to use it to wind up our crazed Spaniard.

So we have :
Internet Chat = Magical Chessboard
Mobile Phone = Magical Chalkboard

What other Mythic Wonders await. :mrgreen:

I think "evil minded" and "sneaky" is a bit harsh, I prefer "playful" and .. actually yeah, "evil minded" :slight_smile:

With some of the abbreviations we've ended up using on the chalkboard, I do think we are to blame for inventing l33t speak in the 11th century tho.. I apologise now to the internet community for that heinous crime!

I don't have any insight to these questions except to say, I love this item.

I think you have to strike a balance between adhering to the rules and allowing the spirit of the game to succeed.

In this case, I can well see my Verditius crafting an extra chessman from the same iron as makes up the board and gifting that with the other board... if you follow.

The chessman stands in for the "Unseen Opponent" and, through arcane connection, when the chessman is granted an Aegis token so too is the remote board in the other covenant. The item's magic is then permitted to cross the Aegis boundary.

I don't see a problem with that. As a storyguide I'd be happy that some thought has been applied and a plausible solution has been reached and as a player I'm happy as I get to make my magic device.

Thanks for all the advice. I'll let you know how the sale goes.

See there in lies a small problem though. These items if made say from the same piece of forged metal or wood. would be arcane connection to one another, Anything touvching the tbales themselves would cut throguh an Ageis like it wasn't even there without the need for inlcuding it in the Aegis Casting.

Though yah I coul seee the moment a spell "Elft" the table it becoming subject to an Aegis.

Otherwise a piece alreadsy on the table, espcially if you made all of the peices out of the same enchanted base material would ALL be acrance connections to one another. Thus no need at all for penetration to work.

Heh, and get mad, grab a peice, zap the crap out of it, and if the other guy is holding it.. ZAP! *provided his parma doesn;t have a say in the metter of course, which it does. BUt still)

Well... I've had to go back to the drawing board.

The storyguide for this little section has suggested that the item can be better constructed using only a single enchantment on each board (and hence it looks like my sale has fallen through because my solution wasn't elegant enough).

The Unseen Opponent:
Base 2 (move an object in an unnatural way): Per Mom Ind (2)

  • 4 Magnitudes to Arcane Connection: Arc Mom Ind (10)

  • 1 Magnitudes for "complex behaviour": Arc Mom Ind (15)

  • 3 levels for being triggered by an environmental condition (the moving of a piece on the board) (18)
    +10 For unlimited uses (28)

The "complex behaviour" may not be necessary, I'll leave that to the storyguide to decide. In this case, the board reacts to movement on it, and then mirrors that movement on the pieces that it is tied to.

So, does this work?

I'm trying to convince him that if that's the best solution that there is then my Verditius Inventive Genius would have arrived at that solution. I don't think I'm going to have much luck.

Read Environmental Trigger again- "major magical features". What you are looking for is simply an activation action, no extra cost there afais.